Practices to Manage and Protect Your Secret Key

Learn the best practices to effectively manage, and sync your confidential API key to protect your valuable information

While technology has advanced with many authentication and verification factors to protect your privacy, risks are still prevalent. API keys, short for application programming interface key, is a distinctive key for each user regarding various purposes. If the data is leaked or hacked, then you will face numerous problems, because the key has all of your secret information.

Therefore, to avoid this situation, you need to know how to keep your information safe. To help you figure this out, I will show you some effective and simple ways to protect your key so that you don’t have to wait for a professional to do it for you.

Ways to Secure API Key

You must designate security to all the API keys in your application platforms. Here are some best practices and strategies that you can use to ensure API security. It can help you prevent exposing your private credentials that can result in unauthorized use.

  • You should never directly embed API keys in code. This exposes the information to the public. If you accidentally forget to remove the keys from the code you shared, you can place them in an environment variable or encrypt and store them outside your app’s source tree. Visit to secure encryption.
  • If you are a coder and use any kind of public source code management, then your keys are more vulnerable. Therefore, to protect data and information from getting into the hands of the code management system, store all of your data outside the application source tree.
  • Install authentic and verified API key restriction application in your device. It is helpful for beginners as you manually don’t have to take the hassle, the app will guide you. Read customer reviews before installing the app. The app will add a layer of protection to your API keys.
  • You don’t need to store unneeded API keys, as it will increase the chances of exposure. Also, it will be difficult for you to manage too many keys at once. Therefore, delete the unnecessary API keys as soon as their work is done.
  • Try to avoid using the same key for all apps to limit exposure. Since each key will contain different information and code, if one key is exposed, the other keys will remain safe. However, if you use the same key, if one key is exposed, the attacker will also have all the other keys.
  • If you suspect any unauthorized use of the key, then immediately rotate the key. And don’t forget to notify Google.
  • If you intend to work with a key for a long time, then rotate the keys after a certain period and regenerate a new key. Keep the associated restriction copy-pasted in the doc file for later use. Use the restrictions in the newly generated key. It will provide you with a sense of security. 

Managing the Keys

You don’t want to compromise with your API keys, as they contain all of your vulnerable credentials. Therefore, I will recommend some ways to manage your keys effectively.

For Application Restriction: Limiting API usage on certain platforms and sites will lower its chances of exposure. Sites such as IP addresses and websites and platforms such as Android and IOS are a bit risky for API usage.

Use API key restriction: Limit API key usage to more than one platform at a time. Keep in mind that the API must be associated with an API key to supporting the application restriction that you will set for that API. However, you cannot use the API without a key, as it will fail to access. 

Do’s and Don’ts with API Key

Use a Secret API Management Service:

If you are working on a project with a large team, you will definitely face difficulty protecting and syncing each of your API keys. In such a case, the easiest solution will be to use an API management service. Such services are convenient and safe to use. Apart from protecting your keys, it will sync and retrieve all the data of your team too.  

Avoid Code Repositories, even the Private Ones

Exposing API credentials via code repositories is like submitting your email’s password in Google form. You think it is safe, but it is not. The data gets stored there, leaving it exposed to other coders and developers. Moreover, the stored credentials in the repository’s history will clone to new repositories developed from that source.

Private repositories are not safe, and they also store and expose your credentials and compromise with them. 

Don’t Store API Key on Client’s Site

This tip is crucial for developers to know. You should never store your API key on your client’s site. For web designers and developers, always store all the necessary credentials to the backend side first. Extract the result from there, and then store it in the frontend development.

On the other hand, if you are an app developer, then store all the information outside the app! Otherwise, anyone can hire another developer and crack all of your credentials. Make your own private server first and store the API information there first before you finally pass it on to the client’s developing app.  

Final Thought

I hope that I was able to help you with your queries regarding API key protection and encryption. You should try to implement these for your secret keys too. These techniques and practices are simple to implement for both aspiring developers and experts for maintaining their credentials and privacy.